The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) & Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS) Boards of Trustees, Members, and Staff hosted this year’s annual meeting at the Vermont Jazz Center at the Cotton Mill in Brattleboro. BDCC President Craig Miskovich and Executive Director Adam Grinold spoke to Members and invited guests about the accomplishments of the past year, and the many partnerships that make this work possible. Three awards were given out during the evening program.
Gang of motorcycling business investors and advisors to invade Brattleboro, hear funding pitches
The event, which will take place at the Robert H. Gibson River Garden (157 Main Street, Brattleboro), is part of the second annual FreshTracks Road Pitch, a four-day motorcycle tour, in which the riders make stops in eight Vermont towns to listen to entrepreneurs pitching their business concepts.
The hosts of the Brattleboro stop are Strolling of the Heifers and Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, with sponsorship support from Marlboro College Graduate School. The pitch portion of the event, from 10 a.m. until about noon, is open to the public.
Besides Brattleboro, the Road Pitch tour will be stopping in Essex Junction, Bennington, Rutland, Randolph, Lowell, Morrisville and Grand Isle. A total of about 45 entrepreneurs are expected to pitch during the tour.
At each stop, the riders listen to the pitches, ask questions, provide advice, and connect the entrepreneurs with resources where appropriate. And potentially, they may invest in a business opportunity they like.
Of the six presenting businesses, four were selected from among the winners of the Windham Regional Business Planning Competition held by the Stroll and BDCC, which awarded $64,000 in prizes to 20 finalists in June.
“This is a wonder followup to the business planning competition,” said Orly Munzing, the Stroll’s founder and executive director. “We’re hoping that this will open doors for the presenters and bring them successful growth.”
“The ride promotes Vermont as a terrific place to do business and as a perfect motorcycling destination with lots of scenic twisting roads, picturesque small towns, and plenty of locally sourced food and beverage,” said Cairn Cross, co-founder of FreshTracks Capital.
Cross founded the Road Pitch in 2014.
“I gathered together close to 30 other founding riders that year, and we proved the Road Pitch concept by riding 500 miles through Vermont, stopping in various towns and listening to more than 30 pitches.”
At each stop, the riders will be awarding a “Riders’ Choice Prize” consisting of $450 cash plus a special “Biker Bear” contributed by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. The cash prize is made possible by support from the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Gallagher, Flynn & Co., and Key Bank, lead sponsors of the Road Pitch.
The six presenting companies include VT Dinners, L3C, of Guilford, which makes chef-prepared meals with healthy local ingredients, which are sold frozen, ready to be thawed out and quickly reheated. The business model aims to deliver local food year round, with restaurant quality but at supermarket prices.
New Forest, LLC, of Brattleboro, is a supplier of certified 100 percent organic ingredients to the spice and tea industry, working with small farmer groups in Central America, Mexico and Indonesia to bring high-quality ingredients to the international market. It specializes in supply-chain integrity in their products from producer to buyer.
Wheel Pad, of Wilmington, is an eco-friendly, free-standing bedroom and bathroom structure for newly wheelchair-bound people that can attach to an existing home. The company’s goal is to provide a universally accessible sleeping and bath area at a low cost. The space includes a sleeping area, sitting area, and bathroom. Pre-built, Wheel Pad is delivered then attached to an existing home on site.
Good Body Products, of Guilford, crafts therapeutic body care products in small batches using 100 percent organic and locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. It is striving to achieve a true “farm-to-jar” business model, cultivating and processing their own botanicals for use in their healing products.
Hermit Thrush Brewery, of Brattleboro, is a small craft brewery dedicated to making top quality Belgian-inspired ales, using historical brewing processes and oak casks along with new green technologies. The owners have recently added canned beer to their original product line of kegs and growlers, and are now working to add capacity and increase distribution.
Green River, of Brattleboro, is a software development company creating metrics, benchmarking, and continuous improvement software for sustainability analytics. Its focus is to create tools and frameworks used to enhance organizational performance and transform markets, by putting relevant, meaningful information in front of decision makers.
This is the first year the tour is making a stop in Brattleboro.
“We’re excited to be showcasing some very promising small businesses, and to demonstrate the entrepreneurship is alive and well in Windham County,” said Adam Grinold, executive director of BDCC.
At the River Garden, the riders will also view an ongoing exhibit, “Windham Grows,” consisting of photographs by John Nopper and Jeffrey Lewis depicting 15 past winners of the Stroll/BDCC business plan competitions held since 2006, along with interviews with the subjects by Elizabeth Stoumen.